In our obsession with productivity, you might think this article is about how to multi-task and use your lunch hour to work more efficiently. It’s not.

In fact, your lunch hour should be the least “productive” moment in your day. Lunch is a micro-vacation from work. It should be relaxed, pleasurable, and enjoyable.

If your lunch hour only lasts a mere 20 minutes—or just doesn’t exist anymore—here’s how to turn it around and make it joyful:

1.Put it on your calendar
To avoid getting stuck in back-to-back meetings all day, schedule your lunch as if it’s a meeting in itself. On shared calendar systems like MeetingMaker or iCal, make sure the office can see that you’re booked at this time. Your lunch is sacred, so don’t allow anyone to book meetings with you during this time.

2.Eat lunch at the same time everyday
Once it’s on your calendar, eat lunch consistently everyday at the same time. This keeps your body in a rhythm, but it also trains your office to know when you’re unavailable.

3.Go an hour later or earlier
Beat the long lines, by going to lunch during off-peak times, such as 11am-noon or 1–2pm. You’ll get speedier service and no stress-inducing crowds. Since you’ll be in the office while everyone else is eating, you’ll also get fewer interruptions and more time to work.

4.Automate lunch choices with the Wheel of Food
Stop wasting time deciding where to eat. Spin the Wheel of Food, and let it pick for you.

5.Yelp it
Once you land on a restaurant, use review sites such as Yelp to research it. Keep an eye out for reports of stuck-up waitresses, disgusting food, and breeding cockroaches.

6.Map it
Avoid spending your lunch time getting lost while trying to find the restaurant. Use Google Maps or Yahoo Maps to get directions before heading out.

7.Ditch your phone
Eliminate interruptions and compulsive text-messaging by leaving your mobile phone at work. I admit, this is my worst habit. It takes away time from truly enjoying a delicious meal. And when other people are with me, it’s just plain rude.

8.Don’t bring work to lunch
Laptops, work files, and meeting notes should also remain at the office. Don’t work, eat!

9.Eat away from your desk
To fully separate work from lunch, eat away from your desk. You’ll avoid the temptation to check email, take phone calls, or browse gossip sites. Plus, it keeps your desk clean and free of crumbs.

10.Don’t overeat
You must enjoy the pleasure of eating, but be careful about over stuffing yourself. If you get too full at lunch, you’ll enter a food coma when you return to work. So instead of being alert and more efficient, you’ll just be drowsy and unproductive.

11.Eat slower
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register when you’re full. So to avoid overeating, eat slowly for 20 minutes before deciding if you’re still hungry. This helps you avoid unpleasant food comas. And according to scientists in fancy lab coats, it also helps you lose weight.

12.Take the full lunch break
Done eating before your lunch hour is up? Don’t rush back to the office. Take the rest of your break to take a walk, read a book, or twirl under the sun. Do anything, except work.

13.Pack your lunch
To make more time available for relaxation during your lunch hour, pack lunch ahead of time. You’ll avoid the hassle of dealing with restaurants, and it’ll save you money.

14.Get a frequent diner card
If you visit the same restaurant often, ask for a frequent diner’s card. Besides saving you a little bit of money, you’ll get treated better as a regular customer.

15.Make lunch dates
Make your lunch more enjoyable and social by going with friends. Just try not to talk about work.

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Many of our problems come from within our own minds. They aren’t caused by events, bad luck, or other people. We cause them through our own poor mental habits. Here are 10 habits you should set aside right away to free yourself from the many problems each one will be causing you.

  • Stop jumping to conclusions. There are two common ways this habit increases people’s difficulties. First, they assume that they know what is going to happen, so they stop paying attention and act on their assumption instead. Human beings are lousy fortune-tellers. Most of what they assume is wrong. That makes the action wrong too. The second aspect of this habit is playing the mind-reader and assuming you know why people do what they do or what they’re thinking. Wrong again, big time. More relationships are destroyed by this particular kind of stupidity than by any other.
  • Don’t dramatize. Lots of people inflate small setbacks into life-threatening catastrophes and react accordingly. This habit makes mountains out of molehills and gives people anxieties that either don’t exist or are so insignificant they aren’t worth worrying about anyway. Why do they do it? Who knows? Maybe to make themselves feel and seem more important. Whatever the reason, it’s silly as well as destructive.
  • Don’t invent rules. A huge proportion of those “oughts” and “shoulds” that you carry around are most likely needless. All that they do for you is make you feel nervous or guilty. What’s the point? When you use these imaginary rules on yourself, you clog your mind with petty restrictions and childish orders. And when you try to impose them on others, you make yourself into a bully, a boring nag, or a self-righteous bigot.
  • Avoid stereotyping or labeling people or situations. The words you use can trip you up. Negative and critical language produces the same flavor of thinking. Forcing things into pre-set categories hides their real meaning and limits your thinking to no purpose. See what’s there. Don’t label. You’ll be surprised at what you find.
  • Quit being a perfectionist. Life isn’t all or nothing, black or white. Many times, good enough means exactly what it says. Search for the perfect job and you’ll likely never find it. Meanwhile, all the others will look worse than they are. Try for the perfect relationship and you’ll probably spend your life alone. Perfectionism is a mental sickness that will destroy all your pleasure and send you in search of what can never be attained.
  • Don’t over-generalize. One or two setbacks are not a sign of permanent failure. The odd triumph doesn’t turn you into a genius. A single event—good or bad—or even two or three don’t always point to a lasting trend. Usually things are just what they are, nothing more.
  • Don’t take things so personally. Most people, even your friends and colleagues, aren’t talking about you, thinking about you, or concerned with you at all for 99% of the time. The majority of folk in your organization or neighborhood have probably never heard of you and don’t especially want to. The ups and downs of life, the warmth and coldness of others, aren’t personal at all. Pretending that they are will only make you more miserable than is needed.
  • Don’t assume your emotions are trustworthy. How you feel isn’t always a good indicator of how things are. Just because you feel it, that doesn’t make it true. Sometimes that emotion comes from nothing more profound than being tired, hungry, annoyed, or about to get a head-cold. The future won’t change because you feel bad—nor because you feel great. Feelings may be true, but they aren’t the truth.
  • Don’t let life get you down. Keep practicing being optimistic. If you expect bad things in your life and work, you’ll always find them. A negative mind-set is like looking at the world through distorting, grimy lenses. You spot every blemish and overlook or discount everything else. It’s amazing what isn’t there until you start to look for it. Of course, if you decide to look for signs of positive things, you’ll find those too.
  • Don’t hang on to the past. This is my most important suggestion of all: let go and move on. Most of the anger, frustration, misery, and despair in this world come from people clinging to past hurts and problems. The more you turn them over in your mind, the worse you’ll feel and the bigger they’ll look. Don’t try to fight misery. Let go and move on. Do that and you’ve removed just about all its power to hurt you.

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#17. Stop Smoking

Posted In: , , . By Bluetoz

Tip 1

Quitting is different for everyone, so find an approach that will work for you. This may be either stopping suddenly and totally or a more gradual reduction in the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Set a date to quit — and stick to it. Make it sooner rather than later. If you are quitting by yourself, it is recommended that you stop smoking completely on your quit date.

Tip 2
Get as much support as you can from family, friends and work colleagues. Let them know you are planning to quit, and ask smokers not to smoke around you or offer you cigarettes. Quitting with a friend can also be an excellent idea — you can share your feelings and encourage each other.

Tip 3
Throw out all cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters and anything else that might remind you of smoking. Wash your clothes and clean your car to remove the smell of smoke.

Tip 4
Nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches or chewing gum, could be a good idea for those who smoke heavily or who feel they may need the extra help. Talk to your doctor about what would be best for you.

Tip 5
Plan ahead for situations in which you are likely to be tempted to smoke, such as parties, drinking or going out for coffee. Try to avoid these situations in the early stages of your quitting program, or try sitting in the non-smoking section at restaurants, drinking your coffee standing up or with the other hand, or keeping something in your hand when you're talking on the phone.

Tip 6
Write down all the reasons that made you decide to quit smoking, and carry them with you in case you need reminding!

Tip 7
Keep the following 4 Ds in mind when you have a craving.

  • Delay: remember that the worst cravings last for only a few minutes and will become even less frequent the longer you have quit.
  • Deep breathe: this should help you relax and focus your mind on something else.
  • Drink water: it is a good idea to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the nicotine and other toxins out of your system.
  • Do something else: you could go for a walk, to the movies or visit a supportive friend. Try eating an apple or cleaning your teeth when you would normally have a cigarette. You could hold something else, such as a pen or beads, to replace the need to hold a cigarette, or chew some gum or eat or drink a healthy snack to have something other than a cigarette in your mouth.

Tip 8
If you drink a lot of coffee, you may also want to cut down on your coffee intake as you will retain more caffeine when there is no nicotine in your system. Feeling jittery will not help your plan to quit. It may also be best to avoid alcohol as many people find it hard to resist smoking when they drink.

Tip 9
If you find you are losing motivation to quit, remind yourself of the many medical and financial benefits of quitting! For example, did you know that 12 months after quitting, your risk of heart disease is reduced to nearly half that of a smoker's?

Tip 10
Expect some physical symptoms.
If you smoke regularly, you're probably physically addicted to nicotine and your body may experience some symptoms of withdrawal when you quit. These may include:
  • headaches or stomachaches
  • crabbiness, jumpiness
  • lack of energy
  • dry mouth or sore throat
  • desire to pig out

Luckily, the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal will pass — so be patient. Try not to give in and sneak a smoke because you'll just have to deal with the symptoms longer.

Tip 11
Keep yourself busy. Many people find it's best to quit on a Monday, when they have school or work to keep them busy. The more distracted you are, the less likely you'll be to crave cigarettes. Staying active is also a good way to make sure you keep your weight down and your energy up, even as you're experiencing the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

Tip 12
If you slip up, don't give up!
Major changes sometimes have false starts. If you're like many people, you may quit successfully for weeks or even months and then suddenly have a craving that's so strong you feel like you have to give in. Or maybe you accidentally find yourself in one of your trigger situations and give in to temptation. If you slip up, it doesn't mean you've failed, it just means you're human. Here are some ways to get back on track:
  • Think about your slip as one mistake. Take notice of when and why it happened and move on.
  • Did you become a heavy smoker after one cigarette? We didn't think so — it happened more gradually, over time. Keep in mind that one cigarette didn't make you a smoker to start with, so smoking one cigarette (or even two or three) after you've quit doesn't make you a smoker again.
  • Remind yourself why you've quit and how well you've done — or have someone in your support group, family, or friends do this for you.

Tip 13
Reward yourself. As you already know, quitting smoking isn't easy. Give yourself a well-deserved reward! Set aside the money you usually spend on cigarettes. When you've stayed tobacco free for a week, 2 weeks, or a month, buy yourself a treat like a new CD, book, movie, or some clothes. And every smoke-free year, celebrate again. You earned it.

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Pack a lunch. Bringing in a sensible lunch that includes healthy choices will cut down on caloric intake. This will help you avoid grabbing a burger or pizza for lunch.

Take a walk. During your lunch break, go around the block a few times at a fast pace.

Go to the gym. If your gym is nearby, spend your hour-long lunch break working out. You can use the gym’s shower to freshen up before you return to work.

Do desk exercises. While you are sitting, tighten and squeeze your buttocks, holding the squeeze for ten seconds. Repeat at least eight times. Another desk exercise is to work your legs by bending your knees over your toes. Straighten the leg by pushing through the feet. Also, repeat at least eight times.

Find a diet buddy. If you find a co-worker to diet and exercise with, it will be much easier to lose weight.

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